Our efforts to prevent Cafe Aquarius from closing back in December through our Change.org online petition were unfortunately for naught, but I’m proud of the outpouring of support and the willingness of E’villains to fight for a good cause. I wanted to personally thank the 169 supporters that signed this and the comments they left are a bit heart-wrenching to me. My personal bitterness in the way this went down had me hoping that this spot would remain vacant indefinitely and the owners and leasing agent would regret their decisions.
The “For Lease” sign at the spot was removed months ago and activity by contractors in the gutted interior has recently stepped up. We’ve eagerly awaited for the new proprietors of the hallowed space to step forward. My attempts to reach out to them for comment have not been successful (Perhaps our threat of a boycott to any business that set up here may have scared them off?). A few days ago, the new tenant finally stepped forward with the below sign. Bacano Bakery, who currently operate out of Oakland and sell their baked goods at the Temescal & Grand Lake Farmer’s markets, will open this Summer.
Bacano is a Spanish slang word that originated in Colombia that means “really nice,” “cool,” “groovy” (nothing to do with “Bacon” … unfortunately). According to their website, Bacano is a handmade, vegetarian, gluten-free Bakery. “Our treats are delicious and healthier than alternatives, and come in a wide variety of wonderful flavors. They’re perfect for people with special dietary needs, athletes, people who maintain a healthier diet, and for all those who love quality food”. In addition to baked treats, they offer multi-grain bread by the loaf and vegetarian empanadas. Their current menu can be seen here.
Their Emeryville location will operate as a dual Bakery and Cafe until the completion of their dedicated baking spot in which this location will shift primarily to a cafe. Like Aquarius, they’ll have inside seating as well as a back patio area and a few sidewalk tables.
The area is dramatically underserved and the opening of a new cafe is desired and needed by the surrounding community and the city. It’s bittersweet for me personally as someone who does my best to provide exposure to new, locally run businesses. My loyalties to Patrick run deep as can be seen in my blogging profile that I’ll eventually have to update:
Patrick, as stated before, opened up a restaurant during the height of the great recession and “pushed all his chip in” to Emeryville. Instead of loyalty, all he got in return was a landlord that saw an opportunity to make more money and pushed him out. Patrick continues to pursue other options and is in discussions with possibly opening a Public Market stall. I’ve personally shopped the idea of the forthcoming Sherwin-Williams Development, who has promised “locally serving retail”, to cater a space specifically for him.
Patrick ran the type of business that Emeryville needs. Small, local, and engaged in the community. He served on city committees and operated one of the few dog-friendly eating establishments in town (and let’s not forget about their appearance on KQED’s “Check Please”). We can only hope that the new operators uphold the community spirit that Patrick established (and that the property owners don’t give them the boot the next time they see dollar signs). The bar is pretty high!